The Case against Parental Notification for Underage Abortion

Abortion is a topic that is widely debatable on a number of levels. Traditional conservatives argue that it defies the right of human life, while liberals opt for the right to choose concerning that life. The terms “Pro-Life” and “Pro-Choice” stem from these arguments. Pro Life illustrates the recrimination that abortion is murder; Pro-Choice beliefs are that any female that is able to bear a child should have the right to terminate the pregnancy at any time. These fundamental arguments have created a maelstrom of controversy for Proposition 85.

Proposition 85 proposes that doctors who will perform abortions on underage females will be required to first notify the parents of said teenager, then allow for a 48 hour “cooling-off period”. A similar proposition, Proposition 73, was on the ballot for the special election held by Governor Schwarzenegger in November of 2005. This proposition would have required getting parental consent before performing an abortion.

Proposition 73, while not as ideal in concept as Proposition 85, still held promise for lowering the rate of abortions performed; however, it did not pass on the ballot. Similarly, Proposition 85 did not pass (though the margin was close). Were the American people more educated regarding the position of this proposition, the results would have been much different. Proposition 85 is an ideal solution to the abortion epidemic; though it did not pass on the 2006 ballot, it should be repositioned in the next election with a higher priority level.

Planned Parenthood is one of the biggest and most outspoken sources of opposition to Proposition 85. With more than 860 centers here in the United States, it reaches more than 500 million men, women, and teens annually. It identifies its existence, in large part, “to ensure that all women and men have the right and the means to meet their sexual and reproductive health care needs” (“Who we are”).

Promoted principally as a means for safe healthcare regardless of sex, income, lifestyle orientation, etc, its liberal viewpoints are often overlooked for exactly what they are: politics. While it is not in contention that many individuals are in fact receiving the healthcare that they require, as well as some education regarding basic means of sexual self-maintenance, there lies a much more serious undertone to what Planned Parenthood is enabling.

Taken from their Mission and Policy statement, the following quote reveals some insight:
“It is the policy of Planned Parenthood Federation of America to assure that all individuals have the freedom to make reproductive decisions Reproductive freedom the fundamental right of every individual to decide freely and responsibly when and whether to have a child is a reaffirmation of the principle of individual liberty cherished by most people worldwide.”

What is glaringly obvious is the total lack of accountability connected to responsibility. What is actually being said in regards to the “right of every individual to decide freely and responsibly when and whether to have a child” has far less to do with the freedom of choice as it does to enable the freedom of promiscuity, negligent sexual choices, and a general lack of responsibility. What Planned Parenthood is advocating, simply put, is this: “So what if you get pregnant! If you feel like you are not ready, or you just do not want to have a baby, we will take care of it for you! Just continue to have careless sex with as many partners as you like.”

Victims of rape and incest aside (for which alternative methods exist), the sponsorship of terminating a human life in exchange for carefree sexual escapades is a substantially unhealthy trade-off, especially given that many of the young women receiving these abortions are under the age of 18. Proposition 85 would force doctors to notify parents of intended abortions, which would in turn allow for more accountability into teenage girls lives.

In voting down Proposition 85, the message we are sending, as a nation, is that teen girls under the age of 18 have every right to make adult decisions regarding their body, though we as a nation do not allow them to make any other adult decisions whatsoever. Teen girls are not even allowed to sign themselves out of school without parental notification, yet we will allow them to terminate a pregnancy? This operation can potentially damage their reproductive system for life.

How does this support Planned Parenthood’s Mission to allow decisions based “freely and responsibly”? Planned Parenthood, while fueled by seemingly good intentions, lacks the central most important focus in any under-aged teen’s life: communication. By allowing teen girls to make such drastic decisions without the input of a responsible parent or guardian (not just any adult), they not only put the teen’s life in danger, they undermine the family structure altogether.

The largest (and concurrently most important) group of advocates for Proposition 85 is parents. As aforementioned, to eliminate the notification of parents for such a severe medical procedure is categorically unethical. One of the bedrocks of the American family is communication, and to have the government prevent family communication is outright tyranny. While Planned Parenthood uses words like freedom, it defies the true meaning of them in its day-to-day practices. Enabling government to tell underage children “you don’t have to tell your parents, and neither will we” does not represent freedom; it shows an utter disregard for the place and function of parental roles within the family.

Proposition 85 fundamentally restores in part the communication between family members. It promotes accountability between teens and parents; these parents are already at a disadvantage if their teenage daughters are sexually active and become pregnant as a result. Rather than intentionally keeping parents unaware (which consequently breeds a myriad of other issues in the home), shouldn’t we do all we can to ensure healthy and informed communication? is a website that advocates the passing of Proposition 85. Numerous testimonials and statistics are featured on the site, as well as a lengthy list of those who advocate all that it represents. Bill O’Reilly, TV News and Political commentator, was featured with this quote:
“There are politicians who don’t want parents to know their little girls are having an abortion. But parents have a right to know what their children are doing. That’s a fundamental parental right in this country.”

When these same teens break laws and deface property, who assumes the financial responsibility? Should the same teen take to skipping school for months, who will be penalized and absorb the associated fines? Who will be criticized and publicly humiliated, reputed as “bad parents” for their lack of involvement in their teen’s lives? The answer is simple, and yet perplexing at the same time: Parents. Parents will assume all responsibility, and will suffer consequences of a different nature. Whether or not the malfeasance is assessed accurately or not, the fact remains that it will be the parents who take the blame.

Yet, those who vote against Proposition 85 would take those same parents (who are being told they are not involved enough in their teen’s lives), and remove them a medical process which has no recourse; a life is taken, and a young girl’s body suffers harm. No one can argue the importance of a healthy family structure. Why are liberals going to such great lengths to destroy it?